How to Create Stellar Blog Content (Part II): An OPEN Forum Guide

Fresh, engaging content is the heart of any successful blog. Take advantage of these inspiring and instructive sources.
OPEN Forum Editors, Editors
September 09, 2011

Fresh, engaging content is the heart of any successful blog. Whether you're in a creative rut, or simply not sure how to capitalize on all the tech-y goodness available to you, don't be afraid to take two cents from the experts. We've looked at creating stellar blog content in Part I of this series. Now let's get specific.

Become a multimedia pro

Becoming versed in the various multimedia modalities is crucial to your content mix. “The beauty of multimedia is that it ranks higher in search, giving your content a better chance to be seen than if it were just plain text,” says Shashi Bellamkonda. (We suggest learning how to effectively use video and create audio podcasts.

Harnessing the power of RSS technology is also great a way to curate content from the Web—and save yourself tons of time. John Jantsch explains how to use an RSS feed to create personalized streams of content from anywhere on the Web.

“With just a basic understanding of the tools, you can aggregate, filter and automate the creation of all kinds of content to use on your website.” For example, you can create personalized feeds for specific kinds of news articles, event pages, industry updates or mentions of your brand in the media. Here are five other time-saving tools for content curation.

Borrow like it’s 2008

In the wise words of Chekhov, “nothing is new in art except talent.” Don’t be afraid to mine and pillage the Internet for ideas, links, design concepts or quotes. Everybody else is doing it and with good reason. Try keeping a list of websites that you find inspiring/envious and check those sites regularly.

Also, look at blogs in your own space that have higher search rankings or more traffic and see what they’re doing right: What kind of content are they posting? Of what length, style and variety? You might even consider approaching them and offering to write a guest post as a way of gaining of more exposure.

Anita Campbell suggests five innovation blogs that are specifically designed to inspire. She also highlights these three creative websites that provide various useful features such as a Creativity Toolbox, naming prompts, streaming webinars and inquiring posts that will steer you into new territories of thought.

Two other resources for discovering inspiration are StumbleUpon and Google Trends, which lists the top 100 fastest-rising search queries in the U.S. (and updates throughout the day). Google also offers deeper insights into search query data which can be useful for SEO and marketing purposes.

Be sure to check out Instapaper and Evernote, if you’re not already using them. Paper.li is also particularly cool, letting you use the links shared by people on Twitter and Facebook to publish your own "daily newspaper."

Inspire through strategic browsing

While browsing and people watching on the Web, beware not to tumble into the depths of Facebook and try for strategic browsing sessions instead. Set a “research” goal. Maybe you want to uncover one novel innovation idea, or curate a list of news articles for the day, or research a particular post you’re planning to write. Then make sure you know the resources available to you to find that information.

Keep track of the random ideas and bits of information that occur to you throughout the day. Try downloading one of these 10 excellent apps that can help boost remote productivity and capture lightening ideas. Napkin genius is particularly useful.

Embrace Lady GaGa

Don’t be afraid to venture into the realm of pop culture—in fact, definitely venture into the realm of pop culture, even if it’s not directly related to your business. There’s a reason why our story on Kim Kardashian got so many hits. People’s lives are serious. Business is serious. And it’s good to mix up your content with some light material.

And remember, “good content gets rewarded with links from other sites: likes on Facebook, tweets from Twitter and shared on LinkedIn,” says Chris Brogan. So keep the material flowing and then worry about the best way to promote yourself.